A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

Midsummer is one of the longest-standing celebrations in human history. Although it passes us by in the UK, for many cultures it is as significant as Christmas.

Midsummer is one of the longest-standing celebrations in human history. Although it passes us by in the UK, for many cultures it is as significant as Christmas. Just like Christmas, it has its roots in Paganism, with one marking the longest days of the year and the other marking the shortest. Also like Christmas, it combined with a Christian festival (in this case St. John’s Day on June 24th) to become a kind of bumper party – and who doesn’t love a party?

In this country the word Midsummer makes people think of a murderous village or Shakespeare’s fairies and Mechanicals. As we approach the longest days of the year, I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the most interesting Midsummer celebrations from across Europe. 

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Latvia 

They take Midsummer very seriously in Latvia. They also do it brilliantly: think bonfires, beer and cheese (what more do you need?). Like most European countries with pagan traditions, the festival also includes plenty of mandatory dancing and songs. Men called Janis (John) are made to wear crowns of oak leaves. Obviously. 

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Austria 

In Austria, it is traditional to mark the Summer Solstice with the lighting of beacons across the mountains. These fires are said to be an offering to the earth. These days you can use cable-cars, drones or Google Images to get a good snapshot of the tradition, which does produce a rather magical effect. 

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Portugal 

In Portugal, they celebrate Midsummer (St. John’s Day) as part of a succession of Saint’s days. The festival is most prevalent in Porto. Among the more bizarre rituals, participants can carry flowering garlic and hit each other with them… on the head. This is supposed to represent the chastising of the rebellious young St. John. 

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Russia 

In Russia there is a Midsummer tradition whereby couples jump over bonfires holding hands. If they let go as they jump the relationship is doomed to fail. Cheery. 

There is also a tradition of making flower garlands – now you’re talking my language – and floating them in water. Their movements are interpreted as predictions of the future. 

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UK 

Aside from popping to see a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream we don’t have many widespread Midsummer traditions in the UK. Well, apart from if you’re a Druid, of curse. Druids and Pagans traditionally head to Stonehenge to see the perfectly aligned sunrise on the Summer Solstice, linking them with revellers across thousands of years who have done exactly the same. 

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Sweden and Scandinavia

Nobody does Midsummer like the Scandinavians. In Sweden, the festival is the second most important holiday of the year. The iconic symbol of Midsummer (Midsommar) is is the  Maypole, which is covered in flowers and foliage and placed in a public place. Traditional foods and drink are consumed (in great quantities, of course) and often traditional clothes can be worn. The party lasts all day and all night, as long as the schnapps keeps flowing.

Traditionally, children must collect seven flowers and sleep with them under their pillow – this will help them to dream about the love of their lives. 

In Norway and Finland they celebrate in very similar ways. In addition, they light bonfires as is traditional all over the continent. In Norway plants and herbs are thought to have magical properties. 

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These are just a few of the most fun and strange Midsummer celebrations from across the continent. Reading about the partying makes me wish I’d booked a trip to Scandinavia to take part! For all of us who are stuck here over Midsummer (and hopefully enjoying lovely weather…) we can always bring a little summery magic into our own homes. If you’re missing some Midsummer madness then be sure to get a delivery of Freddie’s Flowers to brighten the place up! 

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery midsummer spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

How to make a Flower Crown!

How to make a flower headband…
First things first, what do you need to make this wonderful DIY flower crown?

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How to make a flower headband…

First things first, what do you need to make this wonderful DIY flower crown?

  • Well flowers of course and some thin wire.
  • Start by trimming your flowers so the stems are 1-2 inches long.
  • Measure your head with your chosen wire – any bendable, thin wire will do.
  • Now trim your wire to the rough lengths of your noggin.
  • The twists help it keep its shape!

Are you ready? Let’s start crown making!

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Take your first flower and place it along the circle.

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With a new piece of wire, wrap one end gentle around the stem a few times.

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Take your next flower and line it up with the last wire loop. Oh hello flower crown!

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REPEAT…

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In no time at all your crown will start to look a lot like this!

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And then this!

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Well done you! You’ve made yourself the perfect flower crown. Perfect for festival season or summer garden party vibes. Now you know how to do it you can show your friends and family how to make a flower hair garland.

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

My aquatic faves from ChelSEA in Bloom!

Over 90 shops, restaurants, hotels (and even one dental practice) up and down Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion road and the Kings Road jazzed up their shop fronts and windows this week to be crowned the winner of the Cadogen Chelsea in Bloom festival.

Chelsea in Bloom

If you managed to get past all the Instagram influencers who seem to swarm the area of Chelsea more than usual this time of year, you would have got a glimpse of the latest Chelsea in Bloom installations. And this year, the florists have gone all out!

Over 90 shops, restaurants, hotels (and even one dental practice) up and down Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion road and the Kings Road jazzed up their shop fronts and windows this week to be crowned the winner of the Cadogen Chelsea in Bloom festival. Even the local rickshaws were dressed up.

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The theme this year was ‘Under the Sea’ which transformed Chelsea to Chel-SEA! Highlighting the importance of conserving and protecting the fascinating underwater world that is the sea, and all living things that call it home.

Once you get past the shoals of people taking selfies in front of the displays then watch out for floral octopus tentacles, allium, sea anemones and sea horses made from hydrangeas.

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So why the under the water theme this year?

They have partnered with charity Plastic Oceans UK, whose aim is to stop plastic pollution reaching the oceans within a generation. WHAT A GREAT CAUSE! With our boxes being nearly completely plastic-free I could walk around with a clear conscience. However, with single-use plastic being such a horrific problem I thought it was the best theme to raise awareness and money that Chelsea in Bloom has ever done!

Amazing London florists and flower companies from all over team up with the Chelsea shops and get their creative on! And they really don’t do it half-heartedly either!

Here are a few of my faves:

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Free people – Free people’s design by Worm London hit the nail on the head with this beautifully understated yet effective design of a washed up seascape. They used fishermen’s nets and an exposed floral coral reef vibe. Earthy pinks and browns with a lot of reeds and blooms. Although it was simply beautiful it was meant to represent the dying reefs all over the world.

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The Marshall Wace – Their installation for this year’s Chelsea In Bloom is a collaboration with ‘Surfers Against Sewage’. They highlighted the damage of single-use plastic and other waste materials are doing to our oceans and marine wildlife. The installation includes rubbish collected from “The Big Beach Clean”; an annual event organised by ‘Surfers Against Sewage’. The sea has been made with fresh hydrangeas, gypsophila and limonium. Personally, I thought this was the best! It hit home on how we really need to clean up our single-use plastic act!

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Club Monaco – This was a hybrid, mixed-media installation combining sculpture, painting and floristry. Fabric covered rock formations in warm pinks, coral and light sand was used inside and outside of the windows. Large commissioned paintings sat in each of the windows providing the backdrop; an abstract oceanic landscape of pinkish hues. Clusters of freshly cut florals and plants create coral-like arrangements across the seabed rockery.

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Hackett- Their display this year was following the inspiration of twenty thousand leagues under the sea, with the Hackett window featuring a full giant octopus with large tentacles sprawling through the sea windows inside and outside of the building, featuring a yellow submarine and deep-sea divers. Alongside fish, starfish and all other deep-sea creatures and plants, visitors also had the opportunity to have their picture taken amongst the scheme and become part of the scene themselves, wrapped in the tentacle of the octopus. Fun and actually kind of scary!

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It’s really worth the trip!

There were so many each one better than the last. If you’ve never been to Chelsea in Bloom I suggest you whack it in your diary for next year because it really is incredible. Seeing how innovative florist can get with their flowers blows your mind and also with this years theme being such a hot and serious topic at the moment! Stop that single-use plastic people!

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

 

Chelsea Flower Show, Darling!

Freshly cut grass fills the air and the smell of flowers stops you in your tracks. This can only mean one thing… Chelsea Flower Show is here!

London in bloom!

It’s that wonderful time of your year again where mother nature has cranked it up a couple of gears and everywhere you look is prettier than the last. Freshly cut grass fills the air and the smell of flowers stops you in your tracks. This can only mean one thing… Chelsea Flower Show is here!

Chelsea Flower Show aka Mecca to all flower lovers. And guess what? We’re going to be there this year!

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So why is Chelsea Flower Show such a big deal to budding horticulturists?

For gardeners and garden designers, Chelsea has several attractions. First and foremost, it is an absolute spectacle! Here the finest, most inspirational designers flaunt their knowledge and verve. The most extravagant, the most beautiful gardens are on view at Chelsea rather than the Hampton Court or the RHS Cardiff shows. Green-fingered suburbanites can marvel, and return to their gardens filled with excitement and wonderment. As well as providing ideas, the show offers practical help. One hundred and six exhibitors sell everything from seeds to sit-on lawnmowers. It really is the show of all shows!

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Fun facts about the Chelsea Flower Show:

The first ever Chelsea flower show was in 1862 and was originally called the Royal Horticultural Society’s Great Spring Show… Boy, what a mouthful!

It started out as a single tent and made a whopping profit of £88. It wasn’t until 1913 that it moved to its current turf in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

In 1932 the rain at the Show was so severe that a summer house display fell to pieces. Sounds more like the Chelsea Flower Flow!

In the 1950s, the Duke of Windsor – formerly King Edward VIII, was taken with a fashionable rockery and had the whole exhibit relocated to his private estate. He was so enthused that he even helped to move it himself.

The Great Pavilion is roughly 11,775 square metres or 2.90 acres, enough room to park 500 London buses.

Of the firms that exhibited at the first Show in 1913, three can still be seen at the Show today: McBean’s Orchids, Blackmore & Langdon and Kelways Plants.

Despite the First World War, the show still went ahead between 1914 and 1916. It was however cancelled during the Second World War because the War Office needed the land for an anti-aircraft site. Many people were unsure whether the show would be resumed, but it eventually returned in 1947.

One of the most controversial gardens in the show’s history was Paul Cooper’s ‘Cool and Sexy’ garden in 1994, which featured a grille which blew jets of air up the skirts of unsuspecting women. Good luck trying to do that in 2019, Paul!

Each year the show welcomes 157,000 visitors over the five days.

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Have you got your ticket? What green-fingered questions have you got lined up to ask? I can’t wait to have a look at all the incredible creations. It’s the best inspiration for my boxes!

If you’d like to turn your home into the best flowery spot, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

 

The flora and fauna that inspired Shakespeare!

As we approach his Birthday (April 23rd), I find myself thumbing over some Shakespeare for my literary floral hit. Sure, he might have tried to “compare thee to a summer’s day” but spring’s his season

“These flowers are like the pleasures of the world” – Cymbeline

We all love combining our passions: cheese and wine; bed and breakfast; Netflix and relaxing. I’m always looking for ways to combine my love of flowers with other interests. Flowers and Literature? Sounds perfect, doesn’t it. 

As we approach his Birthday (April 23rd), I find myself thumbing over some Shakespeare for my literary floral hit. Sure, he might have tried to “compare thee to a summer’s day” but spring’s his season, and there’s no better time to look at the many, many references to English flora and fauna in the plays and poetry of our National Bard. 

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A few favourite quotes by Bill.

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – Romeo and Juliet 

Shakespeare’s most famous Tragedy is awash with romance and with flowers – it goes to show that in the Elizabethan period flowers were as much a part of the dating scene as they are now. The line above is often quoted, pointing out that, just because Romeo is a rival Montague, it doesn’t mean she’s any less lovely to Juliet Capulet.  By using a rose – the finest of all romantic flowers – Shakespeare really does let us know this is a timeless love for the ages. “He wears the rose of youth upon him” is how Shakespeare puts it in Anthony and Cleopatra – our national flower being an emblem of vitality and youthful passion. This is hot-headed, energetic romance. “Of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best.” He writes in Two Noble Kinsmen. Swoon. 

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“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, 

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, 

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

The riotous woodland comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is another play that is stuffed-full of floral life. From the distilled flower-juice love potion to the names of the Faries, flowers crop up everywhere. But, this description of Fairy Queen Titania’s sleeping place really does use flowers to create a picture of luscious beauty and serenity. Given the fact there were limited sets and props back in the 16th and 17th Century, Shakespeare has to paint a picture with words, brilliantly creating the impression of a forest carpeted with fabulous flowers. 

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“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: 

pray you, love, remember: and there is pansies, 

that’s for thoughts. 

There’s a daisy: I would give you some violets, 

but they withered all when my father died.” – Hamlet 

Flowers aren’t just used to denote love or rich forestry. Hamlet’s sometime admirer Ophelia hands flowers out during the scene in which she is said to go ‘mad’, each one representing a different part of her emotional turmoil. Rosemary to remember the dead, pansies represent thoughts. Fennel and columbine (not mentioned here) are said to denote infidelity and falseness. Daisies here represent innocence and violets are supposed to represent faithfulness (which is why they have withered away!). Shakespeare gives us a glimpse into the countless meanings and symbolisms these different flowers had at the time – and some even still carry today! 

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“When daffodils begin to peer, 

With heigh! The doxy over the dale, 

Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; 

For the red blood reigns in the Winter’s pale” – A Winter’s Tale 

Nobody was better at associating the passing of the seasons with our rich floral life than Shakespeare. “At Christmas I no more desire a rose, than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth” as how he put in in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Each season has its particular pleasures, but in A Winter’s Tale the sight of spring is chief among these. We’ve had daffodils in our boxes recently and I can certainly confirm that the sight of these yellow beauties as they “begin to peer” does indeed pep you up! “Sweet o’ the year” indeed. 

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“To gild refined gold, to paint the lily

To throw perfume on the violet…

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” – King John 

 Forgive me if I am gilding the lily (to use the misquote..!) but there’s room for one or two more. Shakespeare recognises the fantastic richness and luxury of flowers, seen here in King John. Lilies don’t need to be painted, they’re bright enough. Violets don’t need perfume. Just put them in your house and enjoy… and we at Freddie’s Flowers can certainly help with that side of things. 

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One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – Troilus and Cressida 

Well, we can all agree on that. Adding a bit of flower-power to your life – through a spot of Shakespeare or a Freddie’s Flowers delivery – really does soothe the soul. So this April 23rd I heartily recommend you raise a glass to our national writer and his fantastic, flowery work. 

Love flowers? Love Shakespeare? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.

Fun ideas for your Easter table!

Fun, floral ideas on how to decorate your Easter table this Easter!

The flower bunny

As the weather changes and England shakes off its winter coat, Easter arrives to remind us of the new life that is growing in all the beautiful plants around us.

Are you starting to lose sleep over the idea of Easter? How much food to get? Is cousin Bill bringing his latest squeeze? Is there enough room? Flowers! What flowers shall I get?

Well take your panic hat off and throw it away because I am here to hold your hand and guide you through this Easter. Well, on the flower front. I can’t help if cousin Bill brings his date or not.

Easter eggs

With our arrangements this week I thought I would show you some fun ideas to spice up your Easter table or your Easter day. Not that there is anything wrong with the old classic of flowers in a vase, but just in case you wanted to add a bit of panache with your Easter.

Here are a few ideas that maybe you’ll want to try out.

Garland by name, garland by nature

Your very own Freddie’s Flower crown. With my last name being Garland I know I’ll be wearing one throughout Easter. And if you make your own please send pictures to us. We would love to see your own flower crowns. Simply made with Pink Floyd alstroemeria, Le Belle roses and pink lisianthus. Bringing a little bit of Woodstock 69 to the table.

Where is Peter Rabbit?

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Why not try this rather unique table display? Be warned, Peter Rabbit might try to gatecrash your lunch. But it would be worth it for this winning look.

Eggsellent

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Wondering what to do with your leftover eggs after breakfast? Here is a lovely idea to spice up the table to make it as Eastery as possible. Empty your old eggs, add water, make a little string nest so they don’t topple over and then hey presto! You’ve got mini egg vases. Perfect for the Easter table.

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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Or actually, in this case, do.

Egg basket

Go out and find yourself a hen or if that’s too much faff buy some eggs. Give them a paint and add them in with some of our flowers. They will bring out your inner funky chicken when the kitchen turns into a dance floor after lunch.

Stick to something special.

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Whenever I am around and about walking Claude I always pick up things along my way. Sticks and twigs are absolutely perfect for making displays out of. A few coloured eggs, a couple of ribbons and hey-presto you have yourself a wonderful mini Easter egg tree.

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Over to you

So at the risk of sounding like a Blue Peter (rabbit) presenter, why not try it out at home and come up with Easter ideas for your table. If you do try any of these out or your own ideas then please do send us a picture as we would love to see our flowers being all clever and brightening up your home this Easter.

For your Easter floral look why not Sign up to a weekly box of Freddie’s Flowers for just £24 a pop. We deliver a different selection each week for you to arrange. They’re fresh from the grower, too!

Getting wild about wildflowers this Spring!

It might only be March, but with the weather we’ve been having it feels like Spring is in full force!

It might only be March, but with the weather we’ve been having it feels like Spring is in full force, just ask any hayfever sufferer and they’ll confirm it! But as a non-sufferer, I am just loving it. I even did an arrangement video in a t-shirt the other day! 

With the temperature rising and the sun beginning to peep out from the clouds, it is the perfect time to tear yourself away from your flower arranging and to get outside. And what better excuse to take in some of the floral delights of the British countryside. 

At this time of year, we are blessed with an abundance of fantastic wildflowers right on our doorstep. Here’s a guide a few of my favourites to look out for when you’re out and about. 

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Snowdrops 

One of the first flowers of the year to bloom, the adorable little snowdrop can be seen from early January. If it has been very mild you might even see a few in December. They are famous for their attractive little white buds and for carpeting forest floors, looking just like snow… perfect when the weather is getting a little warm!

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Primrose

The sweet yellow Primrose is a real sign that Spring is coming. Like the Snowdrop, they can be seen from January, but they tend to hang around a little longer and can be spotted in fields and forests right up until the early Summer. Seeing them never fails to lift the mood! 

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Daffodil 

Nowadays we think of Daffodils in little vases at home, but they are of course a wildflower that is native to the UK. Wild daffodils are a glorious sight, making me think of Easter and getting us all in the mood for roast lamb, Easter egg hunts and fighting your siblings over the last slice of cake. I love daffs, they are such a sunny flower and always put a big smile on my face.

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Bluebells 

The most iconic of all the British springtime wildflowers, the fabulous Bluebell is a national favourite. There is nothing better than stumbling across an untouched patch of Bluebells, silently carpeting the ground like a foresty sea. And they really do mean Spring is upon us, they tend to be around during April and May, leading us wonderfully into the Summer months. 

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Easy Purple Orchid 

These wonderful, deep purple flowers are seen towards the end of Spring. They’re recognisable for their interesting shape, striking colour and the fact their leaves are spotted. This purple flower is often found growing near Primroses so you might get a double spot! 

There are plenty of wonderful wildflowers to spot at this time of the year; these are just a select few. Do let me know if I have missed your favourite – I’m always on the lookout for more. 

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We’re wild for them

Even better, please do get in touch with pictures of wildflower spots, or of your own Freddie’s Flowers. In fact, if you pick a few wildflowers perhaps you could add them to your weekly arrangement, giving it a seasonal twist! 

You will find a little wildflower surprise in your box this week. I met the lovely Emily from a great new company called Seedball. Seedball are all about helping the butterflies and bees in our gardens and balconies. It’s a really simple way of planting wildflowers without too much knowledge. In each box, there are six seed balls, each containing about 40 wildflower seeds. I hope you enjoy and spread the wildflower love and plant your own!

 

Happy rambling, enjoy the weather and enjoy my Seedball video! 

Love flowers? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.

Flower Pressing

Fun things to do with your flowers after their vase life ends. Make your flowers everlasting!

At this time of year, it’s still a little bit too cold to stay outside too long to enjoy the great outdoors. But, just because I’m in the house rather than outside doesn’t mean I don’t want to have beautiful flowers around me at all times. Now, my Freddie’s Flowers deliveries are a great way to keep nature close at hand in the colder months, brightening the darker days. However, if you want another way of bringing them into your life, I thoroughly recommend pressing flowers.

It might seem a bit Victorian but everything comes back into fashion (maybe not mullets…). I love pressing flowers and it is a really wonderful way of preserving gorgeous florals to enjoy when there’s less greenery around outside. It’s also ridiculously easy.

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First, select your flowers. Why not use some from your Freddie’s box! Maybe when they are just on the cusp so you can enjoy them as much as possible in the vase. As the flower will be pressed to remove moisture you don’t want anything too chunky and flatter flowers work better. If you did want to press a rose or a bloom you can always cut the flower in half with a sharp knife or scissors.

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Once you’ve chosen your flowers you need to prepare them. I recommend giving them a drink for a few hours in some fresh water with flower food (FF customers, you know the drill!). If you’re taking the flowers from an arrangement that is already in a vase, you can skip this bit!

After giving them a drink make sure you dry them off with a paper towel. Take an A4 sheet of good quality paper and fold it in half. Place the flower carefully inside the paper, making sure it is flat and secure.

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For the pressing itself, you will need a good, heavy book. As the pages might get a bit damp, don’t use that priceless first addition you have on the shelf! Slip the folded paper inside the centre of the book and place on a table. Stack a few more heavy books or other objects (paperweights, bricks, children, dogs…) on top of the first book and make sure everything is balanced securely.

Believe it or not, when you’ve done this you’ve done the hard bit. Simply leave the flowers pressing for two to three weeks, changing the blotting paper every few days. You can use tweezers to pick up the flowers if they’re very small or delicate. After a few weeks pressing, the flowers will be fully dried and preserved.

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The rest is up to you! You can use your dried flowers in a variety of ways. Display them, frame them, stick them on cards – you’re really only limited by your imagination and how many heavy books you can get your hands on.

You know me, I’m all about regular fresh flowers. But our boxes are always stuffed, and a few buds could easily be snipped off and pressed. The fresher the flowers the better they will be preserved once pressed. In fact, our deliveries are perfect for the job!

I’d love to see pictures of any flower pressings that people get up to. Or even better, stick them to a card and send it to us in the office! It really will make us happy here in Freddie’s Flowers HQ.

It’s the perfect way to make flowers last forever!

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Love flowers? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.

Top Instagram Accounts I amore!

My top four flower accounts I am totally digging at the moment. I love how a photo of flowers can transport you into a world of inspiration.

All hail Instagram!

The Gram (as it’s known… according to the younger people in the office) has the awesome power of being able to transport you all over the world in a matter of minutes. One minute you’re in a sunflower field in Cornwall, next you’re staring at a cactus in the heart of the Namibian desert.

Insty pulls together a growing community of florists and flower lovers and puts more people under the floral spell every day. There are literally thousands of mind-blowing flower accounts out there. I could spend all day scrolling saying ‘ooooo and ahhhh’. And sometimes I do…

Though your Instagram is often overwhelmed with selfies and #tbt postings, it is, without doubt, an amazing source of inspiration and offers a special peek into the world of some very creative individuals. With this in mind, I thought it only fitting to indulge in one of Instagram’s most beautiful niches, that of the bloom-obsessed, flower arrangement creating, floral-foraging community. From professional florists prepping weddings, to expressive artists making us see flowers in entirely new ways.

So let’s have a look at some of my faves. Each account is wonderfully unique and I really can’t help but get that pang of #inspo when I look at what amazingness they have conjured up.

Jo Flowers

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@joflowersofficial

Inspired by the great gardeners in her family, Jo’s connection to growing began at an early age, and has never left her. She trained in the classic techniques of floristry, honing her craft and developing her skill, before bursting onto the floral design scene in 2011. Her horticultural prowess and synchronicity with nature means she is one of the most innovative designers in her field today.

There is a real sense of the shabby aristocratic in Jo’s designs and I just can’t get enough of her glorious creations.

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@joflowersofficial

Poppy Barach

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@poppybarach

Poppy’s photography is all taken in natural light, mostly early morning, her favourite time of day apparently. Often using light to draw the viewer into the realm of darkness where she finds great beauty and mystery. Through her images, she records a brief personal moment in time. Whether she brings elements indoors, shoot on site or with a model, she’s guided by instinct and whatever she finds in nature that moves her that day. Her props are often small, subtle and seasonal. She includes only what is most essential in conveying her contemplative mood.

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@poppybarach

Janne Ford

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@jannelford

Janne Ford studied textiles at uni and has a real eye for creating a perfect picture. Walking her dog each day in the woods and on her local common really keeps her in tune with the day-to-day changes in nature and light as the seasons evolve. Creating and photographing a still life, using what is available naturally or foraged locally just for the sheer joy of creating is one of her favourite things to do.

Flicky Wallace

Dot and the dandelion

Dot and the Dandelion, created by Flicky, is a florist focused on designing distinctive and elegant flowers. Influenced by the rural countryside of her childhood, Flicky creates colourful and natural designs with the best selection of wholesalers and foraged, found materials. Flicky studied photography and transitioned from photographing nature to working physically with it.

Her wonderful floral creations really are one of a kind. Her arrangements remind me of a modern day, trendy Elizabeth Bennet (if she was a florist of course). They perfectly capture the English country-side don’t you think?

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@dot_and_the_dandelion

My top accounts!

So there you have it. My top four flower accounts I am totally digging at the moment. I love how a photo of flowers can transport you into a world of inspiration. Down the rabbit hole to endless ideas and thoughts. Each picture has a story behind it and I love making up my own stories behind each one.

Get fresher than fresh flowers delivered to your door for £24 a pop!

A Guide to Flowers in art!

Flowers have featured in visual art ever since humans first daubed paint on a cave wall. It is easy to see why – flowers are beautiful, fleeting and symbolic… and far less fidgety than a human muse.

Flowers in Art

Flowers have featured in visual art ever since humans first daubed paint on a cave wall. It is easy to see why – flowers are beautiful, fleeting and symbolic… and far less fidgety than a human muse. I’m no artist myself, but I wanted to take you on a quick guided tour of some of my favourite flower-inspired art.

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Renaissance Fan

Everybody loves the Renaissance painters – they’re like the Jackson 5 of art. But we tend to associate them with Cherubs or Madonnas rather than flowers. But, look a little harder at some of the most famous art of the Renaissance and you’ll see flowers everywhere.

Botticelli painted many of the most famous works of the period. His Birth of Venus alone features both a flower nymph and the goddess Flora, spilling petals. Even more impressively, his luscious Primavera depicts approximately 190 varieties of flower, with 130 identifiable. After you’ve given our boxes a try, you too will be able to identify 130 types of flower!

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Dutch (Flower) Masters

The Dutch are skilled people. Not have they produced some of history’s most loved artists but they’re also the world’s best flower growers. It comes as no surprise to me that the Dutch painters turned to their national speciality for artistic inspiration.

From Van Dyck to Rubens, the Dutch Masters loved incorporating their national symbol into their paintings. In fact, Rubens’ Madonna with Wreath is giving me ideas for the Christmas season!

The Dutch are also keen painters of flower still life. Almost every Dutch painter of the 17th Century had a go – it was a bit like the Instagram of the day, with the noteable contributions from Brueghel, van Veerendael, Davidz de Heem and Frans van Dael. Honestly, stick a paintbrush in your hands and a few extra vowels in your name and you too could give it a go.

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Desperate Romantics

Back on home shores, our own Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood carefully incorporated flowers into their mythical, symbolic work.

John Everett Millais’ Ophelia is a British classic, and sure enough, it contains loads of amazing floral detail. For the natural elements, Millais actually painted from nature, in the Surrey countryside. Fortunately, he didn’t make his model lie in a real river, but painted her in a bath. It still didn’t stop her getting pneumonia – that’s the price you pay for art.

The flowers in the picture are so detailed that, according to the Tate, at least one Professor of Botany took classes to study the picture, as he was unable to get them out to the country. This wouldn’t be an issue now as they could just get the flowers delivered directly to their door for £22!

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First Impressions

In previous blogs, I’ve covered flowers in Impressionist art, and these can be found here.

But, I couldn’t do a post about floral art without mentioning the most recognisable flower paintings of all. No, not the ones your niece did in Reception, but Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

Given these are an iconic classic, it is amusing that many scholars now think he was inspired to paint these pictures because they were quick and easy money-spinners.

Even if this is true, as I write this I’m looking at our very own sunflowers, from our Indian Summer box, and I can confirm that a gorgeous sunflower is all the inspiration you need.

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Vienna to Tokyo

As we head into autumn, I’m reminded of my favourite painting by Gustav Klimt: The Kiss. It is an incredibly famous image, depicting two lovers smooching on the edge of a flowery meadow. Not only are the flower details beautifully realised, but the painting uses gold leaf to give the whole thing a shimmering, autumnal feel – it reminds me of the glorious golden Solidago we’ve got in our upcoming Autumn arrangements.

Klimt’s work was heavily inspired by the techniques of Japanese art and you can see the floral link – with gorgeous cherry blossoms and wildflowers, the work of painters such as Hokusai almost makes me want to take up a paintbrush too! Just look at his Bullfinch on Weeping Cherry and you’ll see where Klimt gets his ideas.

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Flowers that Pop

Now, at Freddie’s Flowers, we like to combine contemporary looks with classic blooms. One artist who did this amazingly was Andy Warhol. He might have been more famous for pictures of Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe, but to my mind, the best of Warhol’s work was his series of flower prints.

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They’re colourful, sharp and distinctive, like all good flower arrangements. Warhol famously used silk-screen printing to produce his hibiscus blossom designs and this means that each of his Flowers is every so slightly unique – just like our boxes of flowers there is a slight variation. I think this is a great approach to painting flowers, as no two blooms are the same. That’s the fun of a gorgeous fresh bunch!

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Many other 20th Century artists also turned to flowers as a great subject for their work. Georgia O’Keeffe’s close-cropped, colourful and symbolic paintings could have been a direct inspiration for Warhol. The closeness of her work, such as the amazing Red Canna is incredibly modern, like the pictures you snap and send into me!

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Jeff Koons went one further, with his cartoonish sculptures of arranged flowers. His Large Vase of Flowers is an enormous, bright realisation of a 3D bunch that looks somehow real and completely false. Made in 1991, it has looked great for 27 years… slightly longer than one of our boxes, but only just.

The Modern Weiwei

Even today, artists are still featuring flowers in their work. Conceptual artist Ai Weiwei filled the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with clay replicas of seeds in his Sunflower Seeds, a very modern take on floral art. 

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The dissident artist was unable to see his impressive work come to fruition as the Chinese government had confiscated his passport. In protest at this, Ai created another noteworthy flower piece, With Flowers. Every day, Ai would place fresh flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside his studio in Beijing – a symbol of his hope and independence. Finally, after 600 days (and 600 bunches of flowers!) Ai’s passport was returned and he was able to travel once more. Part-performance art, part-documentary piece, it is a thoroughly worthy addition to my run-down of flowers in art.

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You may have heard of the brilliant American artist Kehinde Wiley – he has just painted Barack Obama’s Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian Museum. Wiley specialises in photo-realistic portraits of African-American subjects, set against luscious and distinctive florals and patterned backgrounds. Obama is backed by flowers representing his history; blue Kenyan lilies, Hawaiian jasmine and Chicagoan chrysanthemums. That fabulous mixture almost sounds like one of our boxes!

A contemporary echo of the pattern-work of the likes of William Morris, Wiley’s floral backdrops makes his portraits distinctive and fresh while giving his work a hyper-real edge. 

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Both Ai Weiwei and Kehinde Wiley bring the idea of flowers in art right up to date, showing us that flowers still have a place in the gallery… or in your home.

Having a piece of conceptual art in your living room is probably not very convenient. But at Freddie’s Flowers, we can deliver the flowers that inspired the art, hassle-free directly to your door. What could be more simple – or artistic – than that?

Love flowers? So do we! Make your home naturally lovely all year round by signing up for a delivery box for just £24 a pop here.

On-Trend Dining!

Whether it is a classic family meal, or a sophisticated soireé the table layout is of the upmost importance.

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Table decoration ideas for the perfect party

Whether it is a classic family meal, or a sophisticated soireé the table layout is of the upmost importance. Not only do they provide the perfect ambience for the meal you are about to embark on but also a great conversational topic.

Conversation starters can pop up from almost anywhere but the table layout is the first place I go to (apart from the recent weather we’ve been having). And at some dinner parties conversation starters are essential.  I usually get put next to the, lets call them the more difficult of guests because I fall under the awful category of ”I hope you don’t mind but you’re so easy to talk to I put you next to Great Uncle Bernard”. So if I can start with ”Bernard, doesn’t the table look absolutely fabulous tonight?” I am one happy bunny.

So lets have a look at a few table decors I’ve noticed around and about that I think are rather great to have a go at.

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The first rule of dinner partying

First of all, the first of the commandments of a good table layout is to embrace flowers wherever possible. A dinner party without flowers is like going shopping without your bag-for-life and having to get a plastic bag. AKA so not cool. So flaunt flowers in all their glory with a fresh arrangement in the centre and dotted about through out le table as much as you can. Of course the best flowers to have on the table are of course my flowers.

A lovely way of doing this is by getting tiny cups with fresh cut blooms and place at each setting for some sweet-sweet smelling ambience.

Of course if you don’t have lots of tiny cups, (I mean unless you’re part Sylvanian why would you?) another way (and maybe easier) of bringing more floral flair to your place settings is by placing or tucking stems and sprigs on or into the napkin. Et Voilà! La fête est un triomphe!

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Innovation invitation at its best!

I recently went to a D.P where they had chalkboard paper place mats. CHALKBOARD PAPER! Have you ever heard of such a superb revelation. Not only can they double up as place mats AND name places but also for the after dinner entertainment. Provide your guests with a bit of chalk and watch their face as they realise they’ve been eating off their own pictionary board all night!

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Seed them away with something to take home

Being a man of flowers this is an idea I could wait to do for my own soireé at home. Using seed packets as name places. Slot them into a bit of wood and staple or glue a bit of paper with the persons name on and not only does it give the table a little je ne sais quoi but it is also a little treat for the guest to take home at the end. And when they grow what ever seed it is at home they will always think of the wonderful time they had at your amazing party.

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Flowers make the world go round.

So there you have a few of my top tips for a lovely-jubly table layout. Dinner parties and lunches are my most favourite times and I always look back on each one with such fond memories so it is so important to make it look great. Flowers are integral. Do not forget it!

If you’d like your dinner party table the trendiest table in town, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.

 

 

 

 

Get Inspired by the Botanical Gardens of the World!

Let’s have a wonder around some other beautiful botanical gardens around the world. In the words of Aladdin ”I can show you the world (of gardens)”. There are so many beautiful gardens all around the world. Maybe you’ve been to some of them?

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Gardens you simply must visit

Now being an Englishman I suppose I might be biased but I think we can all agree, as a country, we know what a good garden should look like. I mean, we have gardens down to a tee. Even here in London where gardens might not be as big in the country-side we have so many wonderful parks and the best garden of them all, Kew!

I like to think with my arrangements I bring a little bit of the outside into your home.

Here are a few of my favourites:

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Kew Gardens

There is nothing I like to do more than spend a day of my weekend walking around Kew Gardens. It is like swapping bodies with a bee. Meandering around so many different and wonderful plants, trees and flowers. It’s a place of real inspiration for me when thinking of new designs for my arrangements.

Founded in 1840 Kew houses more than 30,000 different plants and has over seven MILLION preserved plant specimens. It really is a marvel and it’s on our doorstep!

But I thought we would have a wonder around some other beautiful botanical gardens around the world. In the words of Aladdin ”I can show you the world (of gardens)”. There are so many beautiful gardens all around the world. Maybe you’ve been to some of them?

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First stop: Rio de Janeiro. – Jardim Botânico

Christ Redeemer looks down on this botanical extraordinaire. Lucky old Christ, ay? This exotic 137-hectare garden, with more than 8000 plant species, was designed by order of the Prince Regent Dom João in 1808. It has an orchid house, a Japanese garden and has rare plants from the Amazon rainforest. Whilst wondering around you can hear the sounds of the jungle around you. Whilst at Kew you can hear the coo of pigeons, in Jardim Botânico  you’re more likely to hear the sounds of macaw’s and monkeys.

A bit closer to home:

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Gardens of the Palace of Versailles

Steeped in history and splendour, the sprawling gardens of Versailles, one of the world’s most recognised landmarks, are the former stomping grounds of King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. In 1661 Louis XVI appointed André Le Nôtre to design the gardens, which took over 40 years to complete and include an orangerie and abundance of ornate fountains. When I went here last year I couldn’t help but have a real strut in my step as I waltzed around this truly magical wonderland.

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New York Botanical Garden

NEW YORK, NEW YORKKKKKK… Dun dun dun de dun. Founded in 1891, this 250-acre botanical oasis in the Bronx supports over one million plants that thrive in a variety of climates, from the tropics to the desert. With over 50 different gardens, this National Historic Landmark receives more than one million visitors per year.

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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Established to conserve South Africa’s indigenous plants, this extraordinary display of vegetation from the savanna, the karoo (a semidesert natural region of South Africa… I had to google it), and other growing regions. Its grand backdrop of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. Sugarbushes, pincushions, and heaths are some of the plants that make up the more than 7,000 species in this epic garden.

And lastly (there are so many amazing gardens and not enough blog writing time)…

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Claude Monet’s Garden, Giverny

I think this is my second favourite garden in the world (Kew being numero uno of course). Founded by a nonprofit organisation committed to the preservation of the house and gardens of the amazing impressionist painter, Claude Monet. The impressive flower and water garden in Giverny attracts over 500,000 visitors a year, all eager to see the greenery that inspired the great artist. And inspired you will be.

I remember going to Monet’s garden when I was very young with my flower mad parents and I think it was the first time I really appreciated the surroundings I was in. It truly is the most incredible place (other than good old Kew). It has an air of total calmness (slightly muffled by the sound of American tourists) and you can totally understand why it was Monet’s favourite place on earth.

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Planning ahead!

So there you have it, a little tour around some gardens around the world. I wish I could go to them all right now. How wonderful it would be to take a year off and travel the worlds gardens. I feel a retirement plan forming…

If you can’t go off on a whim and visit all these gardens then have a look at my arrangements I bring each week. Each bunch is your own mini botanical garden. Bringing the gardens of the world to you.

If you’d like to turn your living room into a beautiful garden, why not sign up and have some Freddie’s Flowers delivered to your place? It’s only £24 a pop and I think you’ll be quite delighted.